General English


  • noun the penis. The Oxford English Dictionary records the first use of the term in 1592; it was probably extant in the spoken language for some time before. Prick was probably coined with the image of a thorn in mind, from the shape and the image of penetration evoked. In the 20th century while it is, in ‘polite company’, the least acceptable of the many terms (cock, tool, etc.) for the male member, it is nevertheless commonly used, together with dick, by women in preference to those alternatives.
  • noun a fool, obnoxious or contemptible male

Origin & History of “prick”

Prick is a word of the Low German area, which English shares with Dutch (prik). Its ultimate origins, though, are not known. The earliest record of its use for ‘penis’ is from the late 16th century, and in the 16th and 17th centuries women employed it as a term of endearment – a usage which did not go down well in all quarters: ‘One word alone hath troubled some, because the immodest maid soothing the young man, calls him her Prick. He who cannot away with this, instead of “my Prick”, let him write “my Sweetheart”,’ H M, Colloquies of Erasmus 1671. Prickle (OE) is a diminutive derivative.